Pacific Southwest, Region 9
Serving: Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Pacific Islands, Tribal Nations
Siemens Carbon Regeneration Facility
(formerly US Filter Westates)
Frequent Questions and Background Information
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- What is spent carbon?
- Are there air emissions from Siemens?
- Is there wastewater discharge from Siemens?
- Are hazardous waste operations at Siemens subject to regulatory control?
- What other regulatory controls is Siemens subject to?
- What is the time frame for EPA's permit decision?
- Have there been any spills at Siemens?
- What is Siemens' compliance history?
- Are there other carbon regeneration facilities in the United States?
Spent carbon is a granular material used in filtering systems to purify air and water. Contaminants adhere to (or stick to) the carbon, and so are removed from the air or water. When the carbon is no longer able to purify the air or water, it is called “spent” carbon. At Siemens, the spent carbon is heated to high temperatures in a carbon regeneration furnace. This process removes most of the contaminants and reactivates the carbon. The reactivated carbon can be sold as a commercial product to be reused in filtering systems.
Yes. Information on air emissions from this facility can be found in this website, on the Air Emissions page.
Yes. Siemens discharges waste waters that are used as part of the carbon regeneration process and that have been processed through the wastewater treatment plant. Siemens has a wastewater treatment system which is designed to reduce the amount of contaminants in the wastewater before it is discharged to the local sewer system. This waste water is continuously monitored to ensure that it does not exceed allowable limits as part of the NPDES permit. Please see the Risk Assessment page for more information.
Yes. Siemens is subject to regulatory control under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) and the Clean Air Act. RCRA is a federal statute governing the operation of hazardous waste facilities and the Clean Air Act specifies operation of air pollution control equipment and discharges from the stack. For more information about the stack and its emissions see the Air Emissions page. Using this and other information, EPA will make a permit decision at Siemens. The permit decision could be a permit denial, or issuance of a permit to allow Siemens to continue operating. Until EPA makes a permit decision, Siemens must comply with interim status regulations. Interim status is a temporary authorization to operate until EPA makes a final permit decision. Interim status contains general requirements for Siemens to operate safely. EPA’s fact sheet below provides further details about the permitting process. RCRA Permit fact sheet July 2013 (PDF) (2 pp, 365K)
Siemens conducted their air emissions test in March 2006 and submitted a revised Part B Permit Application in February 2007. Siemens submitted their human health and ecological risk assessment to EPA in late July 2007. EPA provided comments on the Part B application to Siemens on September 28, 2011 and comments on the Closure Plans and the Financial Assurance mechanism on December 14, 2011.
Siemens incorporated EPA’s comments to their previous permit application and associated documents, and submitted a revised Part B to EPA on April 27th, 2012.
EPA is reviewing this revised permit application to determine if it is complete and technically accurate. After the review, EPA will make a proposed decision on whether to deny or grant the permit and open a 45 day Public Comment Period. EPA is expecting to propose a permit decision in early 2013.
Yes. Siemens has reported four spills since they began operating in 1992. Siemens reports that these spills were controlled soon after they occurred, and that Siemens removed affected soils and sampled remaining soils where necessary.
Siemens has been inspected by EPA regularly since 1992, their first year of operation. This is a list of Siemens’ recent inspection reports:
- EPA's Inspection Report from the June 2001 Inspection (PDF) (16 pp, 108K)
- EPA's Inspection Report from the January 2002 Inspection (PDF) (7 pp, 17K)
- EPA's Inspection Report from the August 2002 Inspection (PDF) (9 pp, 77K)
- EPA's Inspection Report from the March 2003 Inspection (PDF) (5 pp, 60K)
- EPA's Inspection Report from the February 2004 Inspection (PDF) (6 pp, 48K)
- EPA Inspection Report from the September 2007 Inspection (PDF) (5 pp, 657K)
- EPA Inspection Report from the June 2009 Inspection (PDF) (10 pp, 1.2M)
- EPA Inspection Report from the April 2011 Inspection (PDF) (13 pp, 1.5M)
- EPA Inspection Report from the March 2012 Inspection (PDF) (2 pp, 100K)
On June 30, 2006, EPA issued a Consent Agreement / Final Order (CA/FO) to Siemens, alleging three violations. The CA/FO required Siemens to pay a fine and make various safety upgrades.
In addition to Siemens, there are two other permitted carbon regeneration facilities operating in the U.S. They are Calgon in Pittsburgh, PA and Siemens in Sewickley, PA.
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